2005-03-01
„Don't ask, don't tell, don't translate.“ US-Streitkräfte entlassen 74 Berufsdolmetscher – weil sie schwul sind
Seit 1994 haben die US-Streitkräfte 9.488 Soldaten entlassen – wegen ihrer gleichgeschlechtlichen Veranlagung. 322 der Betroffenen besaßen profunde Kenntnisse in Fremdsprachen. Das geht aus einem Bericht hervor, den der amerikanische Kongress in der vergangenen Woche vorgelegt hat. 
    Unter den 322 Fremdsprachenkundigen befanden sich 74 ausgebildete Berufsdolmetscher, wie Prof. Nathaniel Frank vom „Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military“ an der University of California in Santa Barbara berichtet. Die Arbeitssprachen der Betroffenen: Arabisch (20), Koreanisch (18), Russisch (11) Spanisch (9), Chinesisch (3), Serbokroatisch (3), Deutsch (1), Hebräisch (1), Italienisch (1), Vietnamesisch (1).
    Einige der Ausgestoßenen waren Studenten am Defense Language Institute (DLI) der Streitkräfte im kalifornischen Monterey. Dieses liegt unweit der Welthauptstadt der Homosexuellen, San Francisco, und weist nach Angaben eines ehemaligen Studenten einen besonders hohen Anteil an Schwulen und Lesben auf, der sich in manchen Bereichen auf 50 Prozent belaufen soll.
    Der Militärdienst ist für diesen Personenkreis in den USA seit 1993 nicht mehr verboten. Präsident Bill Clinton erließ damals eine Direktive, die unter dem Schlagwort „Don't ask, don't tell“ bekannt wurde. Sie besagt, dass Vorgesetzte von ihren Untergebenen keine Auskunft über deren sexuelle Orientierung verlangen dürfen. Umgekehrt wird von Schwulen und Lesben erwartet, ihre Neigung geheim zu halten. Wird sie dennoch bekannt, ist die Entlassung aus dem aktiven Dienst unausweichlich. Die Betroffenen werden allerdings „ehrenhaft“ statt wie zuvor „unehrenhaft“ entlassen. 
    In den amerikanischen Medien stößt die Entlassungspraxis der Streitkräfte angesichts des eklatanten Dolmetschermangels auf Unverständnis. Auch der Kongress hält die „Frag nicht, sag nichts“-Politik für überholt. Sie schade den Interessen der USA und gefährde die Sicherheit der kämpfenden Truppe in Kriegszeiten. 
    Der demokratische Abgeordnete Barney Frank aus Massachusetts meint: „We've had a policy for driving gay people out of the military. Let gay men and lesbians defend this country. It's been called the policy of 'don't ask, don't tell,' well we have a new name for it: 'don't ask, don't tell, don't translate.'"
    Die Demokraten streben eine Gleichbehandlung aller Soldaten an. Eine Entlassung soll nur dann gerechtfertigt sein, wenn ein Fehlverhalten nachgewiesen werden kann. In einem Pressekommentar heißt es: „Soldiers on duty, gay and straight, must keep their hands to themselves, or face expulsion.“
    Mit Ausnahme der USA und Portugals haben die NATO-Staaten und Israel keine Probleme mit Soldaten, die sich zu ihrer Veranlagung bekennen. Die Militärs haben die Erfahrung gemacht, dass diese keineswegs die Moral der Truppe untergraben oder sich an Kameraden vergreifen. Ein ständiges Problem sind hingegen Übergriffe heterosexueller Soldaten auf weibliche Mitglieder der Truppe.

Fallbeispiele
 
Alastair Gamble speaks Arabic. He learned it at the US Army's training center the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. But, after 8 months of grueling training, Gamble was discharged from service.
    Gamble: "I speak Arabic but I am gay and the military threw me out because the military must throw out all homosexuals."
    Gamble was training to be an interrogator and translator, answering the call by the US government after September 11 for people who speak the language. Robert Mueller, FBI Director on Sept. 17, 2001: "We are actively seeking and recruiting English-speaking individuals with professional level proficiency in Arabic and Farsi."
    But because of the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, Gamble doesn't qualify. He was dismissed when he was discovered on base with his boyfriend a Korean translator who was also discharged.
    Alastair Gamble, discharged soldier: "I figured if I was discreet about it I figured that the military wouldn't pursue, wouldn't come after us." But they did. In fact nine people were dismissed last year from the language institute for being gay or lesbian.

ABC News (San Francisco), Feb. 2, 2003

Jason Pickart of Dayton never made it to Iraq. The 21-year-old Chinese translator, who served as a team leader for neurosurgery at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, was discharged February 28 for homosexual conduct.
    Pickart had confided to a friend that he was going home Thanksgiving to come out to his father. This started an investigation that led to his discharge. He had been in the Air Force since one week after high school.
    He says he still can’t get the military out of his life, though. His father, upon learning that his son was discharged for being gay, told Pickart it was the worst thing that ever happened to him (the father).
    “I came from a military family, and went to a military boarding school,” said Pickart. “Now, I need to learn how the civilian world works.”

www.gaypeopleschronicle.com

Just ask former Army Sgt. Ian Finkenbinder. The 22-year-old Eugene, Ore., native spent eight months as an Arabic linguist with the Third Infantry Division in Iraq. As a military intelligence officer, he helped other linguists collect information from captured Iraqis.
    "Our efforts saved lives and improved the quality of life for soldiers around us," he says by phone. He served in units that took enemy fire and merited an Army Commendation Medal and Good Conduct Medal. He earned about $36,000 annually.
    After the 3rd I.D. returned to Fort Stewart, Ga., Finkenbinder sensed that some in his reorganized unit were discussing his personal life behind his back. In November, after a year of increasing discomfort, he handed his commander, Capt. James Finnochiaro, a written statement of his homosexuality. Finkenbinder was honorably discharged last month.
    "I went to Iraq once," Finkenbinder says. "I met that challenge. I knew perfectly well I would be able to meet that challenge again." Still, he wondered, "whether I would be able to serve an institution that had discriminated against me for four years by asking me to maintain my silence, as well as these isolated incidents of people saying things that they shouldn't."
    Since being booted from the Army, Finkenbinder seeks other work for his Arabic-language skills.

www.polkonline.com

The homosexual translator menace
[...] you can be a gay assistant secretary of Defense (like former Pentagon spokesman–turned–NBC correspondent Pete Williams) or a gay CIA agent serving in the same foxhole as a Special Forces officer in Afghanistan. [...]
    But the one thing you can absolutely never be is a gay member of the group most needed to forestall the next terrorist attack: the Army-trained Arabic linguists who might actually understand one of the hundreds of thousands of conversations and E-mails that the government is now authorized to scrutinize under the USA Patriot Act [...].
    The shortage of Arabic speakers in the FBI and the CIA was one of the most conspicuous failures leading to the government’s inability to connect the dots before the catastrophes at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. [...]
    But as far as the Army is concerned, it’s better to have no Arabic translators than to have gay ones. [...]
    Nathaniel Frank [a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military] reported that within one two-month period last fall, “seven fully competent” Arabic linguists had been discharged from the Army’s elite Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., because they were gay. In fact, the number of gay students there may have contributed to a false sense of security among those students. Frank wrote that the institute’s Northern California location attracted “a large number” of gay linguists. “There were way too many gay people at DLI for anybody to fear the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” Frank quoted a gay former student as saying. “Sometimes we lived on halls that were more than 50% homosexual.”
    All of which may explain why Alastair Gamble, who was a star student at DLI, felt comfortable enough to invite his boyfriend and fellow student to spend the night with him after he had completed more than 30 weeks of intensive Arabic training. Unfortunately, that was also the night of a surprise “health and welfare” inspection at 3:30 a.m., and the two men were caught in bed together. Both of them were discharged.

Charles Kaiser in The Advocate, January 21, 2003

"My country gave me medals for killing two men, and a dishonorable discharge for loving one." -- Leonard Matlovich

www.gaypeopleschronicle.com

[Text: Richard Schneider.] www.uebersetzerportal.de


Barney Frank


Alastair Gamble


DLI-Logo


Bill Clinton